Pet Foods You Wouldn’t Feed To Your Dog
(by Linda Slobodian, The Calgary Herald, May 19, 2003.
North Americans spend an estimated $20 to $30 billion US a year on pet food, but experts claim many products – some recommended by vets – contain ingredients that aren’t fit for a dog. Or a cat.
“There’s no governmental agency in Canada watching over what goes in pet foods,” says Dr. Corinne Chapman, a Calgary veterinarian who is unwilling to take pleasingly packaged pet foods – displaying juicy morsels and happy critters with strong white teeth and shiny coats – at face value.
Chapman echoes a growing number of voices that say a host of ailments – cancer, obesity, heart, liver and kidney damage, dental disease, skeletal degeneration, epilepsy, thyroid disease, even excessive vomiting – may be linked to ingredients in pet foods on the market.
Some industry watchdogs, however, insist pet food is nutritious, and say levels of harmful substances, such as one chemical used in antifreeze to improve taste and appearance, are too low to do any harm. […]
At best, say critics, the food in question being dished out to pets may be loaded with indigestible fillers providing little or no nutrition. Even corn and grains, main fillers, may be making pets sick.
“Some of the research that I’ve done – and some of the veterinarians I’ve contacted – suggest we’re causing a lot of the chronic diseases we see in our pets by feeding them these grain-based diets,” says Chapman, adding that cats and dogs are carnivores that need meat.
So where’s the beef? or chicken? In some products there’s precious little, if any, actual meat. What exactly are those “by-products” so often listed as the main ingredients on the label? “These by-products include decayed meat,feet, beaks, hair and all internal organs,” says Champan who comprised a list of 17 “nasty substances”.
“You’ll usually find one or two nasty substances in the majority of pet foods.” says Chapman. Many pet foods contain chemical preservatives – the same chemicals used in antifreeze , pesticides and insecticides, or used as rubber stabilizers.
Restaurant grease is a major ingredient in pet food. Fat gone rancid is stabilized with powerful antioxidants to stop further spoilage, then sprayed onto bland food to give it taste. […]
Where’s the Beef?
The following is Dr. Corinne Chapman’s list of “nasty substances” to watch out for in pet food.
- Animal Fat – Rendered fat is too rancid or deemed inedible for humans. Restaurant grease has become a major component of feed-grade animal fat. It is stabilized with powerful antioxidants to retard spoilage, then sprayed onto extruded kibble to increase palatability.
- Artificial Colouring – Used in pet foods, treats and rawhide toys. Has no nutritional value. Known allergic reactions in humans to FC&C Red and Yellow No. 5 and 7 dyes.
- BHA and BHT – Preservatives potentially toxic to the kidneys.
- By-Products – An ingredient produced in the course of making a primary food ingredient, can include hair, feathers, tongues, beaks, eyeballs, feet, claws, underdeveloped eggs, intestines, blood and blood-soaked saw dust. By-products equal no measurable amount of meat.
- Corn or Corn Meal – A low-cost filler with little or no nutritional value.
- Corn Syrup – Gives food dampness; a pure carbohydrate (sugar); addictive and indigestible.
- Digest – Animal feed-grade ingredients that must be made soluble with the use of heat and moisture. Example: poultry feet, bones, any animal part that can be crushed.
- Dry Blood Meal – A cheap source of poor quality, indigestible protein.
- Ethoxyquin – A cheap powerful preservative know to behighly carcinogenic. It was originally used as an insecticide and persicide as well as a rubber stabilizer.
- Gluten – The sticky substance in corn or wheat starches that gives the starch its tough elastic quality. Helps hold together the pulverized composite of animal fee-grade ingredients.
- Meal – Ground or pulverized composite of animal feed-grade ingredients; essentially the same as by-product, but may include traces of meat left over after cleaning and rendering.
- MSG – (Monosodium glutamate) a flavour enhancer designed to disguise inferior food quality. Can cause brain and eye damage and allergic reactions.
- Propyl Gallate – A chemical preservative and flavour enhancer linked to kidney damage. Also the sweet-tasting chemical found in antifreeze and brake fluid solvents.
- Sodium Nitrate and Nitrate – Highly carcinogenic chemical preservatives and colour enhancers.
- Soybean Meal – Filler product of little or no nutritional value.